Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 vs Surface Laptop 4: What's new? - MrLiambi's blog

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Wednesday, 12 October 2022

Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 vs Surface Laptop 4: What's new?

The Surface Laptop 4 is one of our favourite Windows laptops, offering sublime build quality, long battery life, snappy performance and a lightweight, slim chassis.

Now, Microsoft has announced its successor, the Surface Laptop 5, and on the surface (excuse the pun) it doesn't look all that different.

So, whether you're considering an upgrade or buying your first Surface Laptop, we've scoured the details to figure out exactly what has changed.

For the sake of simplicity, we're going to be focusing on the 13.5-inch models, but the majority of the details carry over to the larger 15-inch model, too. 

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Design and weight

  • Both: 308 x 223 x 14.5 mm
  • Surface Laptop 5: 1272g with Alcantara finish, 1297g in metal 
  • Surface Laptop 4: 1265g with Alcantara finish, 1288g in metal
  • The Ice Blue colourway has been replaced by Sage for the Surface Laptop 5

As we said up top, not much has changed aesthetically. Both laptops are the exact same size and are offered with either a soft-touch Alcantara keyboard surround or an all-metal chassis.

Microsoft has introduced a new colourway for the Surface Laptop 5, a light greenish colour called Sage. It's an Alcantara option and it replaces the Ice Blue colour offered on the Surface Laptop 4.

Otherwise, the styling remains exactly the same. It's no huge surprise, though, Microsoft clearly takes a lot of inspiration from Apple with its Surface lineup and those designs are typically carried through multiple generations, too.

The weight has increased very slightly with the newer generation, but it's so marginal that we doubt you'd be able to tell the difference in the real world. Both options are very portable and lightweight.

Display, speakers and webcam

  • Both: 13.5-inch, 2256 x 1504, 10-point multi-touch
  • Both: 720p webcam with Windows Hello, Omnisonic Speakers with Dolby Atmos
  • Surface Laptop 5: Dolby Vision IQ support

The story is the same with the display, speakers and webcam. The specifications are almost identical, with the exception being that the Surface Laptop 5 display has Dolby Vision IQ support.

Dolby Vision IQ is a technology that uses a sensor to adjust the picture settings based on the ambient light around you. The aim is to increase clarity and picture quality regardless of lighting conditions. Is it an essential feature? not really. But, it's certainly nice to have and helps to differentiate the models a little more.

We'd like to have seen smaller bezels and a higher resolution webcam on the Surface Laptop 5, but maybe Microsoft is saving that for the Laptop 6.

Hardware

  • Surface Laptop 5: 12th Gen Intel i5-1235U or i7 1255U
  • Surface Laptop 4: 11th Gen Intel i5 1135G7, i7 1185G7 or Ryzen 5 4680U
  • Both: 256GB, 512GB or 1TB storage
  • Both: 8GB, 16GB or 32GB RAM (LPDDR5X on the Laptop 5)

Here's where things get a little more interesting. The Surface Laptop 5 features Intel's 12th Gen processors, and Microsoft says you can expect up to 50 per cent more power than the Laptop 4. It's a pretty serious uplift in performance.

Of course, we'd need to do some real-world testing before we can say how much better it is, but given that these new processors seem to be the whole reason that the Surface Laptop 5 exists, we've got high hopes.

At present, Microsoft has not announced an AMD Ryzen variant of the Surface Laptop 5. We're hoping that one comes later, we've been daily driving the 4680U model for the last year and it's our top pick due to its excellent battery life and performance.

The Laptop 5 has the same storage and memory options as the Laptop 4, but the newer model uses LPDDR5X memory instead of LPDDR4X. We would have liked to see higher capacity storage options made available as this chassis is not really user-upgradable.

Connectivity and ports

  • Both: USB-C, USB-A, 3.5mm headphone socket, Surface Connect port
  • Surface Laptop 5 supports Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4.0 over USB-C
  • Bluetooth 5.1 on the Laptop 5, Bluetooth 5.0 on the Laptop 4

Physically, the port selection looks the same on the Surface Laptop 5, however, there are changes internally. The Laptop 5 benefits from Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4.0 connectivity via its USB-C port.

The addition of Thunderbolt is pretty significant as it opens up a whole new world of accessories that were (perhaps surprisingly) unsupported on previous generations of the Surface Laptop.

Elsewhere, we get a bump from Bluetooth 5.0 to 5.1. It's a small upgrade, but it means that you can expect a more stable connection and faster pairing with Bluetooth devices - which is always welcome.

Battery life

  • Surface Laptop 5: up to 18 hours
  • Surface Laptop 4 Intel: Up to 17 hours
  • Surface Laptop 4 Ryzen: Up to 19 hours

The Surface Laptop 5 bumps up the battery life by 1 hour compared to its Intel-based predecessor. However, it can't match the stellar battery life offered by the last-generation Ryzen machine.

In any case, the battery life is impressive across all the configurations and exceeds the longevity offered by many of its competitors. Charging is fairly speedy, too, and you can expect about an 80 per cent charge within an hour.

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Verdict

The Surface Laptop 4 and 5 are very similar in most regards. To summarise the changes, the new model gives you an updated processor, Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4.0, Dolby Vision IQ support, Bluetooth 5.1 and a new colour option.

For most people, the Surface Laptop 4 will be a compelling option as it's likely to be sold at discounted rates. However, if you need some more grunt, the jump to Intel's 12th-generation chips promises to be a significant one. The addition of Thunderbolt connectivity could also be very important, depending on your needs.

Whichever model you decide on, you'll be getting the same excellent chassis with a lovely touchscreen, solid keyboard, premium feel and great portability.



Source : https://www.pocket-lint.com/laptops/buyers-guides/microsoft/162964-microsoft-surface-laptop-5-vs-surface-laptop-4

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